Robotic CAR? Cytiva and Multiply team on cell therapy automation

Cytiva has partnered with Multiply Labs to create a fully automated robotic system intended to support commercial-scale cell therapy manufacturing.

“Cytiva and Multiply Labs want to develop a robotic system that will automate the manufacturing processes for cell therapies and drastically bring down the cost to do so,” Parker Donner, head of Business Development, Cell and Gene Therapy at Cytiva told BioProcess Insider.

“While these therapies have proven to be very effective, the manufacturing workflow is overly reliant on manual labor. Our goal is to create a system that will bring industrial scale reliability, efficiency, and flexibility from the research bench all the way through commercialization using the best-in-class technology on the market today.”

Image c/o Cytiva

Such a system could bring huge benefits to the hundreds of cell therapies making their way through the clinic said Donner, as while there are select instances where robotics are deployed in manufacturing (mostly in QC), there is nothing available today at such scale.

“There is a need for unit operation optimization in Cell Therapy manufacturing. However, this creates workflow steps that are not always integrated,” he said.

“Some technology providers provide a ‘single box’ approach but that takes the decision making on selecting unit operations out of the researcher’s hands and requires compromising on the best possible solution. With the Multiply Labs collaboration, we hope to solve this conundrum that faces the industry today.”

Development work will take place at Multiply Labs’ facility in California, along with facilities at the nearby University of San Francisco, and the collaboration hopes to have a proof-of-concept system designed within the next nine months.

Already the project is catching the eyes of end-users, Parker added, though of course prospective customers remain confidential.

“Several parties have expressed a keen interest in deploying a solution such as this in their manufacturing workflows. The value that this could unlock is immense and we expect interest will grow.”

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